The Newly Weds
Which begs the question that has been pestering the couple since before they even returned from their Fijian honeymoon: Are they expecting? "Officially we are not pregnant yet," says ex-Bachelorette Trista, 31, who took her husband's surname. "But it will happen in the next year—probably, possibly." Given the tabloid frenzy surrounding the pair, even those in their inner circle aren't sure what to believe. At a recent checkup, says Trista, "my doctor was like, 'Do I need to start going on a diet because they are going to be taping this birth?' " (Note to the doc: Anything's possible.) "We are not making a point of trying to have a baby," says Trista, "but if it happens because we are just not being careful, then we would be ecstatic."
In the meantime, reality TV's most popular coupling ever—talk to us in a couple of years, Rob and Amber—are focusing on settling into a domestic routine in their adopted hometown of Vail, Colo. Whether buying furniture ("We ordered tons from Pottery Barn," says Trista) or developing a taste for each other's eating habits (she lives for grilled-cheese sandwiches and tomato soup; he scarfs Nutella by the jarful), "we're still very much in the honeymoon phase," says Trista. "It's all happy."
The four-bedroom house the couple moved into last year with Ryan's Siberian husky Natasha is finally feeling like home. "For so long, we didn't have knives—if you wanted to slice a tomato or apple, you had to try to do it with abutter knife," says Ryan, 29. "We actually have the necessities of a household now, so it's great."
They also have plenty of support from their families. "Trista called me the other day and Ryan was home, and she was just giggling with him in the background—I love it," says her mom, Roseanne Rehn, 58, who plans to move from St. Louis to Colorado to be near the couple. "I love how they look after each other." At the same time, says Ryan's mom, Barbara, 57, "I'd hate for people to think that they are different than the average bear, because they're not. They have their ups and downs."
There have been compromises as well, starting with Trista's climate-shifting move from Miami to Vail. Her first Colorado winter "was relatively mild," she says. "I was constantly in my Ugg boots, so they helped." As for her longstanding allergy to Natasha, Trista continues to go for regular shots. "The real proof of love is getting shots!" she says. "Ryan obviously loves Natasha, and I do too."
When the pair do argue, it's usually about "minor stuff," says Trista, citing Ryan's recent procrastinating on house-related paperwork. "A lot of the fights we've had are because he was not talking to me, and I'll just jump to my womanly conclusion that something is wrong. Sometimes he just doesn't want to talk."
Then there are the couple's diverging pursuits: Ryan has resumed his job with the Vail fire department; Trista recently shot a pilot for a newsmagazine in which she would be one of six co-anchors. Ryan also is pouring his energy—and well-honed six-pack—into training for the upcoming Ironman World Championship to benefit the Firefighters National Trust (see box). "It would be nice to have him around more," concedes Trista. But the mutual independence has its place, says Ryan: "Looking at the bigger picture, I think it's better for us to spend time apart so that we appreciate the times that we're together."
Besides, Trista says, her ultra-active husband was in need of a new outlet. Since he began training, "I've seen a change in him," she notes, "tie used to just mope around the house and keep bothering me all day. I like the fact that now he has something to look forward to on his own."
While Ryan gets in ab-perfect shape, his wife is keeping herself busy in smaller ways. No. 1 on her to-do list: finishing the job of organizing photos of their extravagant wedding, for which producers paid the couple $1 million. (ABC picked up the tab for the nuptials.) She is also writing a Red-book column on her life as a new wife. She does not, however, plan to resume work as a pediatric physical therapist; instead, she is readying herself for the eventual transition to being a stay-at-home mom. "I would never have dreamed I would be living in Colorado, married to a firefighter, not working and be happy with that too," she says. "It's worked out better than anything I could ever have planned."
Certainly her friends have no trouble imagining Trista as a mom. "I know she's very excited about that stage of her life, and she is the best person with babies ever," says pal Cindy Coffman, 33, for whom Trista recently threw a baby shower. During the festivities, "all the babies went to Trista and she calmed them all. I was like, 'You're the baby whisperer!' "
Until they start their family, the couple are enjoying the chance to focus on each other—and the everyday aspects of life away from the cameras. "We need to do a lot of landscaping, and I like to work in the garage and walk Natasha," says Ryan. "And I got the sprinklers to work!" They've also got a future nursery picked out: "There's a room off the living room that has hand-painted furniture in it," says Trista. "Well, actually I'd want the baby close, and we do have a guest room upstairs next to us...."
Spoken like a true future mom. And if that room turns out to be a study in sugar and spice? "I don't care if we have a boy or a girl," says Ryan. "It doesn't matter to me." Notes Trista: "He'll be such a great dad. I can see him adoring a little girl when that comes." As long as he braces himself for a pink tidal wave. Recently, says Trista, "there was a girl who was doing something that reminded him of me, and he was like, I can see it—we're going to have a little girl exactly like you...and I will have two of you to deal with!' "
Michelle Tauber. Cynthia Wang in Los Angeles